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What is Nordic Walking?

 

Nordic walking is a physical activity and fitness technique that originated in Finland in the 1930s as a summer training exercise for cross-country skiers.

It involves walking with specially designed poles that resemble ski poles.

Nordic walking provides a full-body workout that combines the cardiovascular benefits of walking with the upper body engagement of cross-country skiing.

 

What are the benefits of Nordic Walking?

 

1) Low-impact exercise:

Nordic walking is a low-impact activity, which means it puts less stress on the joints compared to activities like running or jogging.

The use of poles helps distribute the impact and reduce the strain on the knees and ankles.

This makes it a suitable exercise for people with joint issues or those who want a gentler form of exercise.

2) Cardiovascular benefits:

Nordic walking is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that improves heart and lung health.

It increases heart rate and oxygen consumption, providing an aerobic workout that strengthens the cardiovascular system.

3) Improved posture and balance:

The use of poles in Nordic walking encourages an upright posture and engages the core muscles.

This helps improve overall posture and balance, contributing to better spinal alignment and reducing the risk of falls.

4) Outdoor activity:

Nordic walking is typically performed outdoors, allowing individuals to enjoy nature and experience the benefits of fresh air and sunlight.

It can be done on various terrains such as pavement, trails, or even snow, making it a versatile activity suitable for different environments.

5) Suitable for all fitness levels:

Nordic walking is a versatile activity that can be adapted to different fitness levels.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, you can adjust the intensity by altering your walking speed, duration, and the terrain you choose.

6) Full-body workout:

The use of poles in Nordic walking engages the muscles in the upper body, particularly the arms, shoulders, and core, in addition to the leg muscles used in regular walking.

This results in a more balanced and effective full-body workout.

7) Increased calorie burn:

Due to the increased muscle engagement and the extra effort required to propel yourself forward with the poles, Nordic walking can burn more calories compared to regular walking.

Estimates suggest that it can increase calorie expenditure by up to 20-46% depending on the intensity of the activity.

 

How does office workers benefit from Nordic Walking?

 

Office work often involves long periods of sitting, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and associated health risks.

  • Nordic walking provides an opportunity to engage in physical activity, promoting overall fitness and countering the effects of prolonged sitting. It can be highly beneficial for people who work in an office or home based business.

Sitting for extended periods can contribute to poor posture, including rounded shoulders and a forward head position.

  • Nordic walking involves an upright posture and engages the core muscles, helping to strengthen the back, improve spinal alignment, and promote better posture.

This upper body engagement provides a counterbalance to the seated posture and helps to strengthen and tone these muscles.

  • Nordic walking involves the use of poles, which engage the muscles in the arms, shoulders, chest, and back.

Working in an office or with a computer can cause high levels of stress

  • Nordic walking, has been shown to reduce stress levels. It can serve as a break from the office environment, offering a chance to get outdoors, connect with nature, and clear the mind. Walking in nature has a calming effect and can improve mood and overall well-being.

Work environment and doing long hours can be draining and tiring.

  • Engaging in physical activity during the workday, such as Nordic walking during breaks or before/after work, can increase energy levels and enhance productivity. It can help combat the midday slump, improve focus, and enhance cognitive function.

 

How does Nordic walking benefit individuals who are physically unfit?

 

1) Low-impact Exercise: 

Nordic walking is a low-impact activity that is gentle on the joints, making it an ideal choice for individuals who are unfit or have mobility limitations. The use of poles helps distribute the impact and reduces strain on the lower body, making it easier and more comfortable to engage in physical activity.

2) Gradual Progression:

Nordic walking allows individuals to start at their own fitness level and gradually increase the intensity and duration of their walks. It can be adapted to suit different fitness levels, allowing individuals to progress at a pace that feels comfortable for them. Gradual progression helps build stamina and endurance over time.

3) Cardiovascular benefits:

Nordic walking is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that gets the heart rate up and improves cardiovascular fitness. It increases oxygen consumption and promotes better circulation, contributing to a healthier cardiovascular system.

4) Weight Management:

Nordic walking can aid in weight management and calorie burn. It can increase calorie expenditure by up to 20-46% compared to regular walking, depending on the intensity. Engaging in regular Nordic walking sessions, combined with a balanced diet, can contribute to weight loss or weight maintenance.

5) Increased Energy Levels:

Regular physical activity, including Nordic walking, can boost energy levels and reduce fatigue. It helps to improve overall stamina, making everyday tasks and activities feel easier.

6) Mental Well-being:

Physical activity, including Nordic walking, has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. It can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, and promote a sense of well-being. Engaging in outdoor exercise, such as Nordic walking, can also provide a refreshing change of environment and improve mood.

What are the potential benefits of Nordic walking for individuals who have recently undergone surgery?

 

Nordic walking engages the upper body, including the arms, shoulders, and core muscles. This can aid in improving overall strength, endurance, and coordination during the recovery process.

Additionally, Nordic walking promotes good posture, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may have experienced posture changes due to surgery or extended periods of immobility.

Physical activity, including Nordic walking, can have positive effects on mental and emotional well-being.

Engaging in a physical activity that is suitable for their recovery can boost mood, reduce stress, and provide a sense of accomplishment, which can be beneficial during the healing process.

Nordic walking is generally considered a low-impact activity that is gentle on the joints. It can provide cardiovascular benefits and promote blood circulation without placing excessive stress on the surgical site.

The use of poles helps distribute the load and reduces strain on the lower body.

Everyone can do Nordic Walking….Hurray!!!